Sold into service as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior. But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father's old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free. Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape. What's the hook? * Superbly written historical fiction about the most celebrated warriors of all time. Themes * Coming of age, conflict, survival, fate and destiny. * Explore the social context of Rome at the height of the empire. Teaching points * Analyse descriptive writing. * Study the strong, vivid characterisation of Marcus. * Explore the social context of Rome at the height of the empire.